Developing - Roll-Film Tanks - Antique and Vintage Cameras

Roll-Film Developing Tanks

The common forms of roll-film tank were either a horizontal cylinder within which the film was coiled, completely covered with developer; or to hold the coiled film vertically in a container (as the film is kept in continuous motion the developer need not completely cover the film). Two common methods of supporting film in a tank were:

  • To use an apron with either corrugations touching the film at the edges to provide a gap (Correx) or use a wider apron that fully enclosed the film with raised edges to provide a gap (some Kodak tanks, which also made the spool of film light-tight).
  • To wind the film into a wheel with a spiral channel.

Other tanks held the film, un-rolled, in a trough or upright container.

Carbine

c. 1920

W. Butcher & Sons Ltd

London

England

Image of Carbine

For 2 ½" wide roll-film. Daylight tank.

This tank consists of a long cylinder within which the film makes a U shape. The end of the film is fastened to the top of the tank, a plunger then pushes the film down within the tank. Different versions exist: early models have a rubber bulb to agitate the liquid, the finish is black crackle paint or polished nickel. Made in several sizes up to 3 ½" wide. A Super-Carbine (c. 1934) had a slot to remove the backing paper.

With:
Dummy film.

References & Notes:
BP 20187/1915. BP 150663/1920. AP 25/8/1926, p. xi. Butcher's British Cameras, 1924, p. 106. Ensign Cat. 1936, p. 92. DE 347222/1922, FR 529513/1921, German and French patents.

Carbine

W. Butcher & Sons Ltd

London

England

Image of Carbine

For 2 ½" wide roll-film. Daylight tank.

This is an earlier model of the Carbine tank.

References & Notes:
BP 20187/1915.

Brownie Developing Machine

c. 1902

Eastman Kodak Co.

Rochester

USA

Image of Brownie Developing Machine

For 2 ½" wide roll-film. Daylight loaded. Apron to support film.

Larger versions were known as the Kodak Developing Machine. Replaced by the Kodak Tank Developer in 1905.

With:
Wooden box. Dummy film.

References & Notes:
BP 3799/1904. BJA 1903, pp. 236, 943. BJA 1905, p. 205. Kodak Museum Cat. p. 40. Book of Photography. Practical Theoretic & Applied, p. 129. US pats. 17 April 1900, 26 Aug 1902.

Kodak Developing Machine

c. 1902

Eastman Kodak Co.

Rochester

USA

For up to 5" wide roll-film. Daylight loaded. Apron to support film.

Produced in several sizes for up to 7" wide film. Replaced by the Kodak Tank Developer in 1905.

References & Notes:
BP 3799/1904. BJA 1903, pp. 236, 943. BJA 1905, p. 205. Kodak Museum Cat. p. 40. Book of Photography. Practical Theoretic & Applied, p. 129. US pats. 17 April 1900, 26 Aug 1902.

Kodak Film Tank

1908

Eastman Kodak Co.

Rochester

USA

For 3 ½" wide roll-film. Daylight loaded. Apron to support film.

Introduced in 1905 as the Kodak Tank Developer and known from 1908 as the Kodak Film Tank. They were extremely popular and produced in several sizes: 127 film size (from 1912), 2 ½", 3 ½", 5" and 7" wide spools. Extra reels could be purchased allowing more than one film to be loaded prior to development. In use the backing paper of the film is attached to a spindle in the wooden box, also in the box is a light-tight celluloid apron, the backing paper, film and apron are wound together on the spindle. This is then transferred to the metal developing tank and processed.

Notes:
Address on instructions: Kodak Ltd. Kingsway. London. WC2.

With:
Instructions. Wooden box.

References & Notes:
BJA 1906, pp. 195, 929. BJA 1907, p. 869. Kodak Cat. 1915, p. 38. Kodak Museum Cat. p. 40.

Kodak Film Tank

1912

Eastman Kodak Co.

Rochester

USA

For 127 size roll-film. Daylight loaded. Apron to support film.

Notes:
Priced on the box 16/6.

With:
Instructions. Wooden box.

Kodak Film Tank

1912

Eastman Kodak Co.

Rochester

USA

For 3 ½" wide roll-film. Daylight loaded. Apron to support film. Maked Model B-2.

With:
Wooden box.

Adapter for No. 0 Brownie and VPK Film

Eastman Kodak Co.

Rochester

USA

Image of Adapter for No. 0 Brownie and VPK Film

Allows 127 size roll-film to be held in the Brownie Developing box and 3 ½", 5" and 7" Kodak Film Tanks.

With:
Box.

References & Notes:
Kodak Cat 1921, p. 44.

Correx

c. 1931

Correx Müvek Filmipari Gepgyar

Budapest

Hungary

Image of Correx

For 2 ½" wide roll-film. Darkroom loaded. Apron to support film.

This was one of the first 'drum' type tanks. The apron arrangement was patented in the early 1920s but the Correx does not seem to have been sold in Britain until around 1931.

References & Notes:
BP 201561/1923. BJA 1934, pp. 130, 320. BJA 1936, p. 300. Minit&Cine 1938, p. 265.

Leica Correx Developing Tank

1933

E. Leitz G.M.B.H.

Wetzlar

Germany

35 mm film size. Apron to support film.

Leitz made a number of developing tanks:

  • Metal bodied with Correx apron, (1929), CORDO.
  • A larger version of CORDO with plastic body, 17 ½ oz, (1931), CORUN.
  • Plastic body with Correx apron, 12 oz, (1933), CORDO.
  • Model using a spiral core, darkroom loaded, (1938), DEFOO.
  • Similar to DEFOO but with arrangement to transfer film from cassette daylight use, (1938), TAHOO.
  • Agfa Rondinax, (1949), TEOOH.
  • Post-war Correx tank, 10 ½ oz, (1952), CORDO.

A thermometer fitting the centre of the tank was available (CORET) as was a twisting knob (COSTI). The lid of early CORDO models are plane later a 'clock dial' was added.

With:
Leaflet "Entwicklungs und Kopier-Einrichtungen Für Leica-Filme" d. July 1935. Liste 2418K.

Code Names:
CORDO - tank. 2418K - Leaflet

References & Notes:
Leica Cat. 1931, p. 42. Leica Cat. 1933, p. 40. Leica Cat. 1936, p. 45. Leica Cat. 4th ed, 1938, p. 47. Westminster Cat. 1939, p. 79.

Essex

1949

35 mm film size. Daylight loading. Spiral wheel to hold film.

Built-in cutting knife and thermometer. This is based on the pre-war Rondinax 35 tank from Agfa. Two versions were produced - one for standard cassettes only, the other capable of using Leica B cassettes which was introduced a year or two later. It was jointly distributed by Johnsons and Nebro. Cost £4.18.6.

With:
Box.

References & Notes:
BJA 1950, pp. 197, 429. BJA 1956, p. 587. Minit&Cine 1938, p. 266. PTB Feb/1949, p. 214.

Johnson Universal

Johnsons of Hendon Ltd

London

England

Image of Johnson Universal

For 35 mm, 127, 120 and 16 mm films. Darkroom loading. Spiral wheel to hold film.

With:
Instruction book. Box.

The spiral is loaded by rotating each flange in opposite directions whilst gripping the film with the thumbs creating a ratchet effect (Roto Feed), agitation is by inverting the tank.

References & Notes:
Johnson Cat. 1964/65, p. 19.

35 Model II

1955

Paterson

England

Image of 35 Model II

35 mm film size. Darkroom loading. The 'self-loading' spool has spiral grooves with ratchet movement to load film.

Paterson products appeared in 1949 (the company was started in 1948). Their first product was the '35' developing tank, this introduced a ratchet mechanism to grip and move the 35 mm film into the spool, the two sides of the spool had a small tooth within the spiral which gripped the sprocket holes, the film was was loaded by rotating each side in turn. Agitation was by rotating the spool.

The Major model for roll-films (127, 120/620, 116/616) appeared in 1950. The teeth of the original model were replaced by ball bearings working in a small triangular slot forming an inclined plane, the ball alternately gripped and released the film. The core holding the spool in the tank was able to move providing an up-and-down agitation as well as rotating the spool (described as two-way agitation in some advertisements). The up-and-down movement was also fitted to the '35' tank around this time.

The Universal model appeared in 1954 for film sizes of 35 mm to 116. The spool was transparent allowing the second exposure in colour reversal processing to be made with the film still on the spool.

In 1955 the Major II was introduced, this had 'inversion agitation', central pouring and transparent spools, 20 exposure 35 mm and 828 film could also be processed. Larger tanks holding two and three films were available.

The original '35' tank was replaced by the Model II in 1955, this had 'inversion agitation', central pouring and transparent spools. It was also available in a triple size for three films.

The Universal II with 'inversion agitation' was introduced in 1956. These tanks could be fitted with an economiser to save solution when developing short films such as 120, it comprised a plastic cylinder that fitted over the central core of the tank and simply took up space.

The Universal 3 was introduced around 1963 for 16 mm still as well as 35 and 120/620.

A Professional 35 model II for six films was advertised in the mid 1960s.

System 4 models were introduced in 1968.

References & Notes:
BP 661288/1951. BP 661356/1951. BP 756816/1956. BJA 1950, p. 415. BJA 1951, pp. 203, 425. BJA 1955, p. 75. BJA 1956, p. 74. BJA 1957, p. 66. Blue Book 1956/57. Blue Book 1968/69, p.202. AP 25/1/50, p. 1. AP 1/2/50, p. 1. R.F. Hunter Cat. 1961/62, p. 66.

System 4

1968

Multi-Unit 2

Paterson

England

Image of System 4

For 5 35 mm films or 4 127 films or 3 120 / 220 films. Darkroom loading.

With:

  • 3 'self-loading' spools.
  • Instruction book.

System 4

1968

Paterson

England

For 35 mm, 127 films or 120 / 220 films. Darkroom loading.

With:

  • Centre Load Spiral.
  • Instruction book for Centre Load Spiral.
  • Instruction book.

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